• No Holds Barred Network

Back to Basics

Updated: Aug 4

If we sit back and think about it, all of our favorite wrestlers that are on mainstream platforms started somewhere. They trained to get into the position they are in presently.

So where exactly did they start? The Independent scene. 

When I first got into wrestling, I was a huge fan of WWF at the time. I never thought about where performers actually started out? 

I stopped watching pro wrestling for many years and I had many reasons why.  Personally, I was saddened by a lot of my favorite wrestlers leaving or retiring. Also,as I was getting older, life went into full effect with school and work. Six years ago, I was in a bowling alley with some friends. They were standing around talking about what was going on in pro wrestling. 

I had asked “How is Wrestling now?” 

I was told it has gotten much better than what we grew up on. With that being said, I decided to start watching again. I was easily pulled back in. A lot of my friends would go to shows, so I would tag along. They wanted to do meet and greets at shows. This was actually a piece that has brought me into the Independent scene. 

A lot of my favorite WWE wrestlers would be doing Meet and Greets at these shows. This was a great opportunity to also watch independent wrestling and I was hooked. In the last year, I have dove deep into the independent scene. Every weekend I was going to multiple shows. There are so many exciting pieces of an independent show. 

One major thing I say is the intimacy of it. You interact and are more involved when you go to these shows.  You  either “Boo” or “Cheer” for them and they acknowledge you! I have had my shares of going to see AEW star ‘MJF’ compete for companies such as SWA and Create a Pro where I would heckle him and he would yell back. Now look at where he is at. Near the top of the card in AEW. 

My favorite Wrestler on the independent scene is Anthony Gangone. I have been a fan of his for the last 6 years. He has become a dear friend to my heart. I will also sit and say if it was not because of him, I would not be where I am. After having an amazing interview with him on “Under The Ropes”, I decided that I was going to support him even more. I would now start appearing at more shows that he worked. This has led me to amazing promotions that I have never heard of and seeing other incredible talent.

Anthony Gangone currently has one of the best minds in wrestling. He is constantly changing the game in the ring. This is due to every one of his matches being different. Some of my favorite matches of his have been with Hank Flanagan, Steve Mack and an inter gender match with Valentina. The list goes on and on.

Joey Silver is another performer who caught my eye. The first time I saw him in the ring was at a Full Faith Wrestling show. With the talent I saw in the ring on that night, I knew he would be very special and signed to a major promotion one day. I also love that his character is “Evolving” into Sweet cheeks. 

When you hear about GCW, most people think it’s all about death matches. This is what I originally thought. That’s what had kept me away from the promotion. One day, I decided to give it a chance and watch GCW.  What I found was there were more than just death matches, there were some amazing technical bouts. Tony Deppen and Alex Zayne on July 4th, 2019 is one of my favorite matches of all time. 

One major reason why I love AEW seeing so many performers I followed on the indie scene are there. I remember watching Darby Allin, Kris Statlander, Orange Cassidy, John Silver, Joey Janela, Penelope Ford, Jungle Boy, Alex Reynolds and Private Party before they moved on to AEW.

One of my favorite matches I have seen on the independent circuit was Kris Statlander vs John Silver at Beyond Wrestling, New Years Eve. It was hands down my favorite Intergender match of 2019. Another thrilling match I've seen was Joey Janela and Orange Cassidy at ICW. I still talk about this match frequently as a must see bout. 

IWA (Intense Wrestling Alliance) in Jersey has a Family feel when you go there. A Lot of local people come to support the promotion. The locker room also has that family feel. I personally had this experience after one of the shows. I went to grab a bite to eat with some friends after an IWA show.  We sat down and a few minutes later, we saw a swarm of wrestlers coming into the diner as well. It was so fun because we got to interact with them and watch them sit back, laugh and tell stories. 

BWF (Bronx Wrestling Federation) is New York based but many of the performers also work with IWA. It truly is one big family. During matches, I see a lot of workers standing and  watching their peers work in the ring while the show is still going on. I also love that “breaking bread” feeling that they have. A lot of podcasts run "Viewing Parties" at Restaurants/Bars for Fans to watch a PPV along with other wrestling fans. A Shot of wrestling runs a few parties in Queens, NY at Buffalo Wild Wings. While there, a lot of the BWF/IWA Talent are seen taking pictures and interacting with fans while watching wrestling. At the end of the day we all have one common denominator. We all LOVE wrestling! 

Synergy is another Promotion dear to my heart. It’s a  New Jersey based Promotion that Colin West runs. I found out about this promotion through supporting Anthony Gangone. Colin West has put his heart and soul into Synergy. All the workers just adore him. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite Venues to attend. Have you ever had that feeling when you enter somewhere and it has that warming vibe? This is what I get when I walk in and being greeted at the door by Colin.

ICW:No Holds Barred will always be a promotion near and dear to me. Jack Balian and Danny Demanto make sure you leave the building satisfied. I can honestly say that I have seen many stars from ICW. It has that satisfying feel when you see wrestlers from the independent scene go mainstream. I have seen Joey Janela, Marko Stunt, Maria Maniac, Jungleboy, Penelope Ford, Orange Cassidy and many others start here. You can walk around the venue and are able to sit and talk with the talent. At the end of the day, wrestlers are just like us. 

The independent scene has any type of wrestling you can imagine. If there is wrestling that you may not enjoy, trust me, start digging and you can find so much more out there. We have so many APPS such as PowerSlam TV, IWTV, FITE and Youtube to watch these promotions. You can find almost any match out there. 

If you like Women’s wrestling, you can find Shine or Stardom. If you like Death-matches, you can watch GCW and ICW. There is even Comedy wrestling out there. Xtreme Serious Wrestling is one of the promotions you can find that style. The list on the Independent scene is abundant. IWA, BWF and Synergy Wrestling are examples of some of my favorite companies running in the Tri-state area. They truly feel like family. 

The independent scene has done a lot for me and I ask that you support your local indy promotion as much as you can. You never know who you may see on a television screen in the future.


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